UK – customs tariffs after Brexit as from 1 of January 2021

During the current Brexit transition period, goods can still be shipped tariff free and without import and export formalities from the EU mainland to the UK and vice versa. After the transition period, scheduled for 1 January 2021, EU – UK trade will be subject to import and export formalities and the UK will set its own customs tariffs. The UK has now announced what these tariffs will be.

Post Brexit

The UK has published a list of its tariffs that will be applicable after the transition period, which is currently scheduled to be on 1 January 2021. The tariffs and import duty rates will be applicable on goods imported into the UK, except in the situation that the goods originate from a country the UK has a Free Trade Arrangement with and the criteria mentioned in the arrangement are met. The UK and the EU are currently negotiating a Free Trade Agreement with the aim to reach an agreement before the end of this year.

The UK has already signed Free Trade Agreements (FTA) with various other countries or territories. For example, Switzerland and the UK have already agreed on a new Trade Agreement. This means that basically the same rules and preferential duty rates will be applied after the end of the transition period as currently applicable related to the FTA between Switzerland and the EU. .

Changes to the tariffs

The UK has used the existing EU tariff as the basis for its post Brexit tariff, but has made some noteworthy changes, such as:

  • Elimination of customs duties on products important for the UK industry (such as copper alloy tubes and screws and bolts) as well as certain consumer products;
  • Rounding of duty rates (4,5% becomes 4%);
  • Elimination of ‘nuisance’ tariffs (all tariffs below 2%);
  • Elimination of additional duties like meursing duties.

In total around 60% of all tariffs will be eliminated. However, relatively high tariffs on important UK industries (such as the automotive and the agricultural industry) will remain in place. The UK tariff can be accessed here:

In case of import of goods into the UK, these tariffs will be due on these products. However, there are possibilities avoid duties by benefitting of customs schemes (such as customs warehousing). We recommend to review potential exposure to these tariffs and the related customs duty burden, especially since there is an increased risk that the negotiations between the EU and the UK for a Free Trade Agreement will not be concluded in time or will even fail.

How can we help?

PwC has developed a tool that can visualize the impact of Brexit on the business of your company based upon Intrastat data. Through this tool we help you visualize and subsequently analyze the possibilities to mitigate the impact of Brexit. We can also help in analysing the impact on the current product portfolio of the loss of origin status in case UK products or components are used.

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